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Bayern Munich

Mourinho plays down talk of Bale bid

Real Madrid manager Jose Mourinho has ruled out a summer transfer bid for Tottenham Hotspur winger Gareth Bale, speaking ahead of Tuesday's Champions League quarter-final with the Premier League side.

• Forum: Can Spurs beat Real Madrid
• Bale open to European switch
• Bale should be fit for Real
• Wenger: Spurs have 50-50 chance

Bale has proven himself to be indispensible during Tottenham's European campaign this season and his performances have attracted envious glances from some of the continent's biggest clubs - with Manchester United, Barcelona and Inter Milan all thought to be keen on securing his services.

But Mourinho, who spotted Bale's talent while he was in charge at Chelsea, denied that Real would be out to sign the player, who recently signed a new four-year deal, this summer.

"I was one of the first to say he will be an amazing player. I was saying that when he was not known in European football, just in England, so I know the great player he is,'' Mourinho said.

"He is still young and there is a big space for him to improve so he will be a really top, top, top player. I have no doubt about that. Tottenham is not a good club to sell though. It is a club that buys.

"I think for the amount of money involved, it is not easy to buy and we have players for that position. We have Cristiano (Ronaldo) who plays in the same position he plays, and Marcelo at left-back.

"When you want to spend big money you do it in areas where you have problems, but I have no doubt he (Bale) is a very good boy.''

Spurs boss Harry Redknapp has earned many plaudits this season for the attacking style he has employed at Tottenham and the way it has helped his team through the competition, seeing off Inter Milan and AC Milan along the way.

Redknapp is favourite to take over from Fabio Capello when he steps down as England manager next summer, and Mourinho thinks the former Portsmouth boss would do a great job in succeeding the Italian.

"He is a good manager for any team, including a national team,'' said Mourinho, who is looking to secure his third Champions League trophy. "I think there is no limits for him. Give him a team, a national team and he is ready for anything.''

Tottenham were embroiled in a relegation battle when Redknapp took over two and a half years ago, but his impressive stewardship has earned him the utmost admiration from his opposite number for Tuesday's showdown.

"He is my friend, and friends are always nice to each other,'' Mourinho added. "I say nice things about him and he does me. That's life.

"When I was in England he was not managing teams with possibility of reaching these kind of ambitions. Finally after the good work he was doing, he went to Tottenham, who had the resources to build a good team. I'm very, very happy (for him). I hope, and I say this from my heart, that if I don't reach the final, then I hope he does it.''

Meanwhile, Bale looks set to start for Tottenham after training with his team-mates at the Bernabeu on Monday evening and will be in manager Harry Redknapp's line-up if he suffers no recurrence of the hamstring injury which has troubled him recently.

William Gallas could make a surprise start just three days after Redknapp said a knee injury meant he could not kick a ball, but Niko Kranjcar is a doubt with a foot problem and Steven Pienaar did not travel due to a groin injury.

Gallas' return would be welcome given that fellow defenders Ledley King (groin), Jonathan Woodgate (calf), Younes Kaboul (thigh) and Alan Hutton (knee) are all unavailable.


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